The Bluegrass musical and dance festival takes place over 4 days in July. . Bluegrass music is a form of American root music, and a sort of country music. It has roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music, using traditional instruments.
Bluegrass Stuff, an Italian band
Rawhide a Belgian band
Baker's Fabulous Boys are a Cheshire-based Bluegrass band
Also there is Squaredancing and UK and US guest artists
For enthusiasts there is camping in the grounds of Conwy Cricket Club with flush toilets, bar and hot food available until late. Security patrols throughout the hours of darkness - a nice safe site for all the family. RADAR Toilets for people with disabilities are on site.
The festival takes place in nearby Conwy where there is limited accommodation. Many people choose to stay in Llandudno with more choice of places to stay.
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- Road Trip
Llandudno Transport & Victorian Festival
Llandudno Transport Festival takes place each May
The Transport Festival is the largest in Wales. It is held in conjunction with the Victorian Extravaganza. Each day following the Parade a dress competition will be held in the Promenade Arena. There is also a photographic competition with £2500 WORTH OF PRIZES.
Victorian Costume, vintage fairground and a host of attractions combine in this annual celebration of transport and entertainment within the town. The two events are linked by a free shuttle-bus service
- Arts and Culture
Punch & Judy show on the promenade
Even though my children are grown up and its not very pc, I love to visit the promenade to see the traditional Punch & Judy show in Llandudno.
The Punch & Judy man of my childhood has found it harder and harder to make a living from his seaside pitch. There are probably no more than a dozen resorts left in the UK with a resident Punch show on the beach, promenade or pier.
Open Easter - to end August.
The traditional Punch & Judy Show originated in Italy and became popular street entertainment to the Victorians at the Seaside, as they flocked to the coastal resorts.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
West Shore Beach
What a boring name for a spectacular piece of coast at the extreme end of the town.
It overlooks the Penmaenmawr range of mountains from the beach. It is a quiet "blue flag" beach with a children's playground, model boating pool and the memorial of the White Rabbit (commemorating the author of Alice in Wonderland).
It is the place for summer picnics on the grass on the beach or in the sand dunes.
Its popular for water sports too, but to me the best thing is the unrivalled views across the Conwy Estuary and further afield to Puffin Island and Anglesey, and it doesnt matter what time of year you go or the weather. The sunsets there are spectacular.
- Sailing and Boating
- Water Sports
Snowdon Mountain Railway
I understood that the visitor’s center at the top of the mountain was to be open this summer, but sadly, as with many construction projects, it has been delayed a bit. I don’t know how long. So we didn’t get to go to the top but did take the pleasant and scenic ride up to the Clogwyn station. Of course we could have walked up to the summit but it is very steep and probably the round trip would have taken 2-3 hours. The views on the trip and at Clogwyn are really spectacular - old mountains and valleys of volcanic origin in sweeping panoramas all around. And of course the most pastoral of all, sheep grazing on hillsides. The train system is interesting as the gradient is too steep for normal trains and tracks, so a rack and pinion system is used. Not only very effective for hauling you up but also an excellent braking system to prevent too rapid a descent.
Trains run pretty much daily but as the weather can be iffy and effect schedules, it is best to double check. Prices are not cheap: Adults £16, Seniors £13, Children £12
If it is a busy time there can be a wait for a seat on one of the trains, so either book ahead or be prepared to have something at the cafe.
It would be virtually impossible to visit all the castles in Wales so choices must be made. Everyone told me I should visit Caerbarfon but I chose Harlech for personal reasons. As a teenager I sang in our schools Boy’s Glee Club and one of my favorite memories was the rousing song Men of Harlech. This is one of the better known songs of Wales and is frequently mistaken for the national anthem. (The national anthem is actually Land of My Fathers. So we visited this magnificent castle which appears to have been planted and rooted in the rocky shore overlooking the Irish Sea.
As you wander through this magnificent old fortress the rooms and spaces are well marked and there are several museum rooms with lots of signs giving you the history of the Castle and its role in the struggles of England and Wales. There is even a great little model of the Castle as it originally appeared. Of course the two main towers now feature the Union Jack on one and the beautiful Red Dragon Flag of Wales on the other.
The Castle opens daily from 9:00 or 9:30 to 16:00 or 17:00 depending on the season with shorter hours Sundays November-March.
Admission is Adults £3.60, Reduced rate £3.20.
Family Ticket:- £10.40 - admits 2 adults and up to 3 children under 16 years.
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Tram to the Great Orme
As testimony to how long Llandudno has been a popular resort, the Great Orme Tramway has been in operation since 1902. It is a short and pleasant ride up to the top of the Orme where you are rewarded with sweeping views of Llandudno Bay. Once there I discovered there is also an aerial cable car as another way up (as well as driving or walking). It is obviously geared toward family outings as there are pony rides, miniature golf and lots of open spaces which kids love.
It is also a great natural area with many species of water birds, numerous resident and migrant birds, butterflies and a sizeable herd of Kashmiri goats which are natives of India and produce cashmere wool. It seems that the original herd came from India by way of France - go figure. At any rate, they are an important enough factor in the lore of the Great Orme that a statue of one stands just outside the tram terminal.
The trains run every 20 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., late March to late October.
Fares: adults 5.40 GBP and children 3.70 GBP
About 10 miles south of Llandudno is great garden marvelous in both its beauty and its variety. There are two levels to the garden and you enter it by the upper garden with a great lovely lawn stretching down from the house, the home of the Lords Aberconway. In addition to marvelous views of Snodownia and the mountains, the upper level has several lawns, lots of herbaceous borders and tons of rhododendrons, azaleas, camillias and magnolias. The lower garden, called the Dell, has some magnificent old trees, severak streams, a waterfall and more lovely rhododendrons and azaleas, not to mention some water lilies that rival Monet’s.
There seems to be ample free parking although I had a funny experience there. I guess I parked too close to the car in front of mine as when I returned there was a note under my wiper blade which read, “you have parked your car in my bomber you NOB NERD THANK YOU T.I.T. I am not sure what a “bomber” is but am sure I upset the guy (or lady).
There is a nice tea room between the parking area and the gardens and we stopped for a nice bit of refreshment. There is also a gift shop of sorts, mostly geared to gardening but as I was wandering through, a live peacock crossed my path. Couldn’t get him to fan out his great tail however.
Welsh Choral groups
St. John’s Methodist Church in pretty much the center of Llandudno has regular Male Voice Choir Concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from May-October. We were looking for just such performances and my wife spotted the sign in front of the church as we were driving through town. It turned out that one performance included both male and female voices but we attended both concerts and thoroughly enjoyed them. The selections were many and included a wide variety - Broadway musical songs (South Pacific seems to still be a favorite), gospel and spirituals, Abba, Andrew Lloyd Weber with only a smattering of religious music.
There is an admission charge of 6 GBP but it was heartening to note that this money is used to fund local charities. The groups that sing are all local or from the surrounding area. Their website has a listing of regular events that lists the groups who will be performing
The less commercialised west shore is not as pleasant a beach as the main shore but what I like about this beach is walking along it as the sun sets over the sea and you look out to the mountains of Snowdonia.
A walk up the little orme
The little Orme is at the other end of the town to the Great Orme. No one seems to go there and this could be in an off the beaten path page. You can get away from any crowds here and if you look carefully, there are a couple of sheltered shingle beaches that are great to explore. At this end of the town is the small almost village called Craig-y-don. There are a few small hotels and B&Bs here. I think this is a better area to stay, you feel as though you are away from it all and the crowds.
A stroll along the pier
A day at the seaside cannot be without a stroll along the pier. Free to get on, it never used to be when I first remember it, there is a pleasant stroll out past the ubiquitous children's entertainment of bouncy castles and shops of tat. That's a little unfair as this can be a pleasant place except for that joint that sells accordion music blasting out and anyone who has been there will know what I mean.
I think that the Punch and Judy show is an absolute must see. You must make the effort to see this performance at least once. Punch and Judy is monitored by a group of people calling themselves professors and this is the only place that I know where a professor still plies his trade on a sea front. A traditional children's story of violence, ghosts, scary crocodiles, leaving children home alone and hanging, "That's the way to do it."
Skiing at the sea
There is a dry ski slope at happy valley along with a bar/restaurant and a bobsleigh ride. I remember this being built in the 1980s and how it was a controversial move as it took away some of the natural landscape of the area although it is hidden from view as it is in a valley but as time has gone on it looks more tatty every time I see it. I think the place would look better without it but who am I to stand in the way of progress? bob sleigh ride is great fun though.
Happy Valley is at the base of the Great Orme and where you start the long climb of 650ft or maybe not. There are some pleasant gardens here. The area is protected from frosts by the warm sea current known as the Gulf Stream and so you can find some fine plants including palm trees that you would not usually see in this part of the world. There are some history boards around the town and this one describes how this area was a quarry not so long back before the owners ran out of stone and donated the land back to the town.
There are some stone henge like obelisks which appeared after the 1970s Eisteddfod but that is a another story
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